Boy Scouts, Mormon Church Accused of Abuse

     BOISE, Idaho (CN) – In a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts and the Mormon church, four former Scouts say they were molested by Scout leaders, forced to watch while their friends were abused and forced to have sex with each other.
     John Does I-IV sued the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Federal Court. The corporations, and the corporation of the Mormons’ presiding bishop, are the only defendants. The alleged abuses came in the 1980s.
     John Doe I, now 43, claims that in 1982 he was sodomized and subjected to “physical, sexual and emotional abuse,” at the hands of scout leader James Schmidt.
     Doe I claims both the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) were notified as early as 1979 that Schmidt was a pedophile and had been abusing Scouts. He claims Schmidt abused him for six months on Boy Scout camping trips, at an LDS ward building and in the attic of Boy Scout Council headquarters in Boise.
     Caldwell police arrested Schmidt in 1983 after interviewing 16 Scouts and their parents who documented an undisclosed number of cases involving abuse of minors.
     Schmidt was ultimately ordered by the court to complete treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, for “severe pedophilia,” according to the complaint.
     Schmidt’s treatment, however, apparently did not take. Doe II claims Schmidt began abusing him in 1985, when he was 12 years old.
     “Schmidt’s sexual abuse included fondling of John Doe II’s penis, testicles and anus, and other physical, sexual and emotion abuse,” the complaint states. “This abuse continued for approximately two years, until John Doe II was 14 years old. The abuse occurred on BSA camping trips.”
     Doe III claims he was abused for a week by Scout volunteer Dennis Empey, during a camping trip in 1981. Doe was 14 at the time.
     “Defendant BSA placed Empey on its Ineligible Volunteer Files (IV Files) for molesting Scouts in 1988,” the complaint states. “Letters in Empey’s IV File document that one of the victims – a member of the LDS Church – told his father in 1987 that Empey had abused him in 1981 at an LDS Chapel in Idaho Falls. No one from BSA reported this incident to the police.”
     Empey was convicted of molesting children in Provo, Utah in 1991, according to the complaint. That year he moved back to Idaho and was hired by the Teton Council of BSA to do graphic design work, the complaint states.
     “In association with another case in Idaho in 2005, a man filed an affidavit stating that Empey had molested him in 1983 at the Island Park Scout Camp,” the complaint states.
     Doe IV, now 53, claims he was molested in 1972 by Scoutmaster Lawrence Libey. The abuse involved fondling, oral sex, and sodomy and Libey forcing Doe IV to have sex with another boy, Doe IV says in the complaint. He claims the abuse occurred “hundreds of times and lasted for approximately 6 years.”
     The plaintiffs claim the Boy Scouts knew it had a pedophilia problem as far back as 1920, when it began tracking cases of child molestation and filing them away under its “Red Flag” files, now known as the IV Files.
     The files were broken down into two categories: financial transgressions and moral transgressions. Moral transgressions were known as the “Perversion” files, according to the complaint.
     The IV Files consist primarily of Perversion files, according to the complaint.
     “Between 1920 and 1935, at least 1,000 child molesters, between 50 to 60 per year, were discovered and subsequently excluded from scouting,” the complaint states. “Now, 1,365 IV Perversion files still exist that were created between 1960 and 1985, with 25 to 96 IV Perversion files created per year during that time frame. However, the number of IV Perversion files still existing significantly under represent the actual number of adult volunteers that molested scouts because defendant BSA has destroyed many IV Files for a variety of reasons, and because many children do not report their abuse.”
     Seven Scout leaders in Idaho alone were accused of molestation between 1962 and 1977, and three more accusations arose between 1978 and 1983, according to the complaint.
     The plaintiffs claim the BSA and the LDS Church were well aware of the problem.
     The LDS Church, through individual wards, sponsors many Scout troops in Idaho, and many Scout leaders and volunteers are members of the church, according to the complaint.
     “Scouting was the official program for boys in the LDS Church, and many boys growing up in the LDS Church were required or strongly encouraged to join scouting,” according to the complaint. “Scouting was an official part of the Aaronic Priesthood for young men under 21 in the LDS Church.”
     Men in the LDS Church were either “required or strongly encouraged” to be Scout leaders, according to the complaint.
     The LDS church is broken into wards, each headed by a bishop.
     “The bishop had many tasks, including selecting and supervising Scout leaders within the LDS Church,” according to the complaint, which claims that every ward is required to maintain a Scout troop.
     Therefore, the plaintiffs claim, the LDS Church is responsible for protecting Scouts in their sponsored troops.
     “Prior to or during plaintiffs’ abuse, LDS defendants were also aware of the risk that Scouts could be molested by Scout leaders, including LDS Scout leaders and Scout leaders in LDS-sponsored troops,” the complaint states. “In Idaho, LDS defendants had notice prior to plaintiffs’ abuse that at least one LDS Scout leader in an LDS-sponsored troop within the Ore-Ida Council of BSA had been accused of molesting Scouts.”
     The plaintiffs claim the BSA and the LDS Church had to have known “to a moral certainty” that at least some Scouts would be molested every year if the organization’s structure did not change.
     Does I-IV seek damages for constructive fraud.
     They are represented by Andrew Chasan with Chasan & Walton in Boise, and Gilion Dumas, with O’Donnell Clark & Crew, of Portland, Ore.

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